This unusual name is thought to be of ancient British/Welsh origin. It is a locational surname deriving from the place called Kenyon in the parish of Winwick, near Warrington, Lancashire, recorded in the Book of Fees for the county of 1212 as "Kenien", and in 1276 as "Kynian". The placename has an uncertain etymology, but is thought to derive from a British/Old Welsh name, "cruc Enion", Enion's mound, the name being later mistaken for "cruc Cenion". The personal name is cognate with the popular Welsh name "Einion", in Middle Welsh "Enniawn", which means "Anvil". This etymology is supported by the fact that there was formerly an ancient burial mound there, dating from the Bronze Age. The modern surname can be found as Kenyon, Kenion and Kennion, and early examples include Jordan Kenyon (1260, Lancashire), and Nicholas Kynion (1288, Cheshire). One Jacobus Kenyon is recorded as a shoemaker in the Preston Guild Rolls of 1562. A Coat of Arms granted to a Kenyon family depicts a silver cross lozengy on a black shield, over all a bend gobonated gold and red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Kenien, which was dated 1212, in the "Book of Fees of Lancashire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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